mercredi 19 juin 2013

190 miles from shore

Maybe I've had a bit too much time on my hands, and certainly haven't done a whole lot of sophisticated catering but I've been thinking about two important things about food while spending five days sailing, including crossing the Bay of Biscay.

First off, on this sort of trip one can of course try and live on ham cheese and biscuits.  It's a lot easier  than dealing with a hot pan and boiling water while being thrown around by the ocean, so why bother trying to make decent food?

Well, there's nutrition  I suppose, but we were hardly likely to get scurvy in this time away. No, it's more about community, the team. Making food for each other (in turns) is an expression of care and respect I think, and isn't that the essence of hospitality, and what we do every time we offer to feed someone. In this crew experience, where the three of us really are putting our lives in each others hands, that communion is all the more significant.

So every day one of us would wrestle with the challenges of one pot one knife cooking (should have bought a chopping board), handling boiling water while bobbing around and discovering we have no salt (my fault, but thank heaven for the seasoning qualities of chorizo).  So we would have dinner together every evening, and afternoon tea with a selection of Portugese delicacies every afternoon. And, largely because of where we were no doubt, it was all terrific.

The Italians and French might get all excited about their terroirs and DOCs, but the experience of consumption is just as important to the experience... A bitter shandy after a bike ride, a sausage on a beach (previously stated BBQ rules don't apply), a backpack sweated sandwich at the top of a just hiked hill. These are all things that I know are always intensely memorable to me, but I'm pretty confident I'm not alone in having these sensation triggers.  Holidays too of course, and hasn't everyone experienced that surprise that your favourite local wine seems to lose quite a bit in being transported home?

Eating is a sensation about more than food, it's about people and the experience. No deli can sell you the intense, uniqueness of these fleeting moments. So, a sort of recipe - baked white beans, fried  chorizo, rocket, drizzle of lemon, scattered with croutons (yes, I made croutons). Serve 190 miles from shore, winds 25mph from the South West, Sea State Moderate. Delicious.

Toby, somewhere 190 miles from shore, sometime in June

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